I was up late one night this week, tossing and turning in a semi-feverish insomnia and thinking about (what else) this blog, and how I never seem to have enough things to write about. I struck on the idea to craft a joke post about the music we had picked to use in the ceremony and important parts of the reception, since the problem with most of the music I love is that it’s, well, lyrically depressing. And not in a fun way, like how country music is all “I shot my ex-boyfriend in his stupid cheating face and now let’s LINE DANCE YEAH” and lady-pop music is all “I’m so beautiful on the inside I can wear dresses made of dead puppies in public so DANCE NOW YEAH.” So I was going to try to be a troll and post a bunch of my favorite cruelly depressing songs and see if I could get anyone thinking I would really traipse down the aisle to the strains of The National, but in the sober daylight I remembered that that’s a dumb idea.
The problem remains, though, that most of my favorite songs about love and relationships shouldn’t get within ten miles of wedding bells. With that said, here’s my lineup of awful (in theme, not execution) wedding music.
The Mountain Goats, “No Children”: This is the song that inspired the idea of this post. It’s one of the best, most beautiful, most painfully detailed and honest love songs ever written, and it’s pretty much the worst thing to hear on your wedding day.
Favorite Lyrics: I am drowning / There is no sign of land / You are coming down with me / Hand in unloveable hand / and I hope you die / I hope we both die
Where I would put it (if I was really twisted): I would have the officiant do a reading of the lyrics during the ceremony. It wouldn’t even be close to the worst thing I’ve heard an officiant say to a couple on what’s supposed to be the giddiest day of their stupid lives.
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, “Falling Slowly”: I thought long and hard about actually including this song in my wedding, because it is seriously so damn gorgeous. I even tried to talk myself into hiring live musicians and making them play an instrumental version, and then I actually thought that through and realized it would be the same four notes over and over and over, and the song loses some of its charm that way. You need to hear the words, which are about two broken people trying to escape into each other.
Favorite Lyrics: Falling slowly, eyes that know me / And I can’t go back / Moods that take me and erase me / And I’m painted black / You have suffered enough / And warred with yourself/ It’s time that you won
Where I would put it: Walking down the aisle. It has the perfect cadence, just not the perfect sentimentality.
Harry Nilsson, “Don’t Forget Me” Yep, another beautiful song about divorce. Fuck.
Favorite Lyrics: When we’re older / And full of cancer / It doesn’t matter now / Come on, get happy / ‘Cause nothing lasts forever / And I will always love you.
Where I would put it: First dance song.
The Decemberists, “The Bachelor and the Bride”: Look, right there in the title! It’s a freaking wedding song! How depressing can it be??
Favorite Lyrics: But I, said the bachelor to the bride / Am not waiting for tonight / No, I will box your ears / and take your tears / and leave you, leave you here stripped bare
The National, “Cardinal Song”: It’s long been a dream of mine to hijack the stereo at a wedding and put on an endless loop of The National, and time how long it takes the first person to start weeping uncontrollably. (Spoiler: It would be me. I ALWAYS cry.)
Favorite Lyric: Never tell the one you love / that you do / Save it for the death bed / When you know you kept her wanting you
Where I’d put it: Another reading for the ceremony. Let’s pack this thing as full of doom-and-gloom and shitty advice as we can!
The Magnetic Fields, “Yeah! Oh Yeah!”: OK, this one’s a little on the nose. Still, I feel like it belongs here.
Favorite Lyrics: All of them. Just listen to the song.
Where I would put it: Responsorial vows.